Neymar is a "really good guy" according to Thomas Tuchel – although the Paris Saint-Germain head coach admits such a label might be a hard sell to outsiders.

The Brazil star saw his stock tumble with PSG fans as speculation over a move back to LaLiga dominated pre-season.

Despite being booed on his return, the 27-year-old has four goals in five Ligue 1 appearances this term and Tuchel is not surprised by the instant returns.

"This guy has a good background. It may be hard to imagine when you see it from the outside but he is really a good guy," the former Borussia Dortmund boss told beIN SPORTS. 

"It's not hard to be close to him and convince him to do the right thing."

Real Madrid and former club Barcelona were both linked to blockbuster moves for Neymar and Tuchel accepts the player's head was turned.

"Between us, not much has changed," he said. "I knew he wanted to leave the club and he knew I was against it, that for me it was neither the right moment nor the right decision to take. 

"He clearly knew that as a coach, I did not want him to leave. But we also knew that it was not my decision or really his either in the end. 

"There was need for a club to set the price. We both agreed that it was not decided at our level and that this should not affect our relationship, because we knew that there was the possibility of continuing to work together. It would have been stupid to ruin everything."

Indeed, Tuchel identified last season's shock Champions League exit against Manchester United as a bigger setback to bounce back from.

PSG shelled a 2-0 first-leg advantage to go out on away goals against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's injury-hit side and proceeded to stagger over the line in Ligue 1, before losing the Coupe de France final on penalties to Rennes.

"For three days I was in a really dark place like never before," Tuchel said.

"I knew what we worked for and I knew how hard it was to reach this point with this team and this club, after the past seasons and what happened.

"I knew how hard we tried to influence the squad and how the squad responded – it was really big work to achieve that kind of level, to beat Liverpool, to win at Red Star Belgrade and to go to Manchester United and be the first French team to win there.

"To make this kind of a performance and crash in the second leg… like you have a car accident, running over the green lights and you get a crash from the side. It felt like this. What did we do wrong? We could feel after that how big that crash was.

"Even between the two games, we could feel everybody in the city believed it was different and we could go through. We did not, we could not hold it. It felt like sand running through our fingers."

He added: "Suddenly a lot of injuries, the mood changes in the dressing room, the mood from outside. The players were not immune to all this and it was very, very hard for us to finish the season with the same spirit.

"It was not possible. The biggest example is the cup final, where we led 2-0 and it was a clear victory for us and we lost in the end.

"I trained myself not to read too much, because who knows more about us than us, but I feel it, I hear it. It was immense."

The relationship between Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and the club's fans is "getting better", according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Brazil international Neymar scored his side's fourth goal in their 4-0 Ligue 1 victory over Angers at Parc des Princes on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has four goals in his five league appearances this season, all of which have come since the transfer window closed without him having secured a move away from the club.

Neymar was keen to return to Spain and former club Barcelona, although a transfer never materialised, and has been booed by PSG supporters for a perceived lack of commitment to the Ligue 1 champions.

The attention from the stands led Neymar to admit last month that "it's going to be like playing every game away from home" although he stressed his desire to leave the club was nothing to do with the fanbase.

However, Tuchel thinks his performances are now helping to heal the rift.

"About Neymar, yes, it's getting better, it's easier," he said when asked if he could see some improvement in the relationship.

"I said it's up to us, up to him to show again and again, be decisive, suffer, run to get the ball. It's not necessary to talk.

"He showed a lot of things and tried a lot of dribbles [against Angers]. He scored once again, he could even have scored more goals, but he's still capable of incredible things.

"It's up to him to show it, really, at the end of the day."

Kylian Mbappe missed the match after Tuchel confirmed he had suffered "a reaction between the scar and the nerve" on a hamstring he injured in August.

Tuchel is now waiting to learn whether the forward will be excused international duty over the next two weeks so he can recover.

"I need to ask [sporting director] Leonardo what we're doing with Kylian," he said. "We need to do some treatment. We need to wait for the agreement between the French Football Federation and PSG to know if he goes with the France team."

Paris Saint-Germain will be without both Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani against Angers on Saturday, with the Uruguay striker left out of their 19-man squad.

Coach Thomas Tuchel had earlier ruled out Mbappe, who had only recently returned from a hamstring injury.

But Tuchel, speaking at his pre-match news conference, said PSG would wait to make a decision on record goalscorer Cavani, who has been out with a hip issue since August.

Cavani "is not completely free", said Tuchel, and confirmation followed later on Friday that the front man would not be involved this weekend.

Thomas Meunier had reportedly been a doubt but is named in the squad.

Thomas Tuchel has revealed Kylian Mbappe will miss Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Angers due to injury, leaving him a major doubt for France's Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Mbappe has featured as a second-half substitute in PSG's last two matches after shaking off a hamstring problem that had ruled him out for a month.

However, the 20-year-old aggravated the injury during his 30 minutes on the field in Tuesday's 1-0 win at Galatasaray and is now facing another spell on the sidelines.

Didier Deschamps named Mbappe in France's 23-man squad for this month's qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey, but the talented young forward may now be forced to withdraw.

"I can tell you Kylian will not be with us," Tuchel said at his pre-match news conference. 

"It is not a relapse, but a reaction between the wound and the nerve. 

"I understand time is needed to treat the wound. I have not spoken with Didier Deschamps about Kylian."

PSG have been without record goalscorer Edinson Cavani since their 4-0 win over Toulouse at the end of August, while Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba are all out of this weekend's clash at the Parc des Princes.

Asked for an update on the fitness of Cavani, who has returned to training, Tuchel said: "Honestly, I do not know. He is with us and is not in pain, but he told me he does not feel 100 per cent comfortable. 

"He is not completely free from injury. We'll wait until after today's training session to decide on him."

Presnel Kimpembe is PSG's other representative in France's latest squad after earning a recall for the world champions with his return to form and fitness in recent weeks.

"He is ready to play for France," Tuchel said. "I am very, very happy for him. He deserves this. He has worked very professionally and is in a good spell."

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thomas Meunier hailed the mental toughness of his team-mates after their gritty 1-0 victory at Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Mauro Icardi scored his first PSG goal to secure all three points for Thomas Tuchel's team in a disciplined display against the Turkish champions in Istanbul.

PSG faced a hostile atmosphere away in the Group A clash, but kept their composure to make it back-to-back victories from their opening two matches.

Meunier was impressed with the resilience shown by PSG's players as they stood up to the intensity of the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy," said the 28-year-old Belgium international. "We saw what their 12th man brings with an atmosphere which got more intense every time they touched the ball.

"But I'm really proud of the team. We fought, we went into challenges, we resisted and we had a lot of chances. It could have been 2-0 or 3-0.

"We had the right mental strength and I think that's the most important thing.

"It was a perfect evening, also because of the draw between Club Brugge and Real [Madrid], which allowed us to go four points clear of the nearest team."

Idrissa Gueye praised the cool heads shown by PSG's players, with only three men booked against Galatasaray.

"We showed a lot of maturity today, though it was a difficult game," said the Senegal midfielder. "We were able to stay calm and keep our confidence. We tried to play from time to time, to move the ball forward and attack on the break. 

"Everyone knows it's tough to take three points here. We did it, so we're happy."

PSG head coach Tuchel felt his side's dominance of the midfield area was integral to securing a victory which put them four points clear at the top of Group A.

He added: "The three midfielders were very good. I like that mix a lot. They bring balance to the team, they provide intensity and they're reliable.

"They're good in terms of combativeness but also creativity."

Mauro Icardi scored his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain to give them a 1-0 win over Galatasaray in their Champions League Group A clash on Tuesday.

Argentina forward Icardi joined PSG on a season-long loan from Inter last month, and tapped home from close range in the second half after a slick passing move.

In the face of a hostile atmosphere in Istanbul, PSG showed their mettle and would have won by a greater margin but for Angel Di Maria's poor finishing.

PSG's victory moves them four points clear at the top of the group, with Real Madrid five points adrift after being held to a home draw by Club Brugge.

The catcalls and boos from the Galatasaray fans at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium did not knock PSG off their stride early as they swarmed forward in the early stages.

Di Maria had two glorious opportunities to give PSG the lead but a combination of disappointing finishing and fine goalkeeping kept the scoreline goalless.

Argentina international Di Maria first shot straight at Fernando Muslera when clean through, and then saw the Galatasaray goalkeeper produce a brilliant reaction save to push a shot over the bar.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas kept out a curling free-kick from Jean Michael Seri early in the second half before Di Maria squandered yet another chance when he broke clear only to fluff his lines as Muslera advanced off his line.

Thomas Tuchel's men took the lead seven minutes after the break as some neat build-up culminated in Pablo Sarabia's low cross for Icardi, who calmly stroked the ball into the net.

Icardi was replaced by fit-again Kylian Mbappe on the hour mark and the France striker tested the reflexes of Muslera with a low angled shot that he blocked at his near post.

Galatasaray sporadically threatened as they sought an equaliser but PSG stood firm with little difficulty.

 

Kylian Mbappe is fit enough to start for Paris Saint-Germain against Galatasaray but Thomas Tuchel does not think the striker is ready to play 90 minutes.

Mbappe missed PSG's Champions League opener, an impressive 3-0 home defeat of Real Madrid, with a hamstring injury but came off the bench at the weekend against Bordeaux to make his return.

The France forward, who scored four goals in the Champions League last season, combined with Neymar for the Brazil superstar to score the only goal in a 1-0 Ligue 1 win.

Neymar is out for Tuesday's trip to Turkey, though, as he serves the final match of a two-game European ban, but Mbappe's return improves PSG's attacking options.

"Mbappe can start the game or finish it but he cannot play the whole 90 minutes," Tuchel told a news conference.

"We have specific goals, yes, but I cannot communicate them to you in a press conference, it stays between us.

"There are always things to work on, the precision in the last touch, finding spaces but also tactical points. 

"It is important that he regains all his confidence already, he had many opportunities in the last game, it's a good thing.

"I will not stop pushing him, with help you play with the best possible state of mind."

Although Mbappe is back in contention to start, PSG's record goalscorer Edinson Cavani is still sidelined and Mauro Icardi was an unused substitute in the weekend win at Bordeuax while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is another injury doubt.

Tuchel's PSG have typically lined up with a front three but the German suggested he could switch formation in Istanbul.

"I cannot tell you everything before a big match, it's always a challenge for us to find solutions," Tuchel added.

"We managed against Real, we'll see, maybe we'll play with two attackers, maybe with three...

"We will make the decision tonight or tomorrow morning, we will present our plan tomorrow, at the meeting, to the players.

"We must wait for returns from Choupo, Mauro, see how their situation evolves."

Neymar played down his fractured relationship with Paris Saint-Germain's fans, insisting "it is like with women, sometimes you argue and spend some time without talking".

PSG superstar Neymar has enjoyed a stunning return to the team since his failed return to Barcelona, scoring three goals in four matches.

Neymar's desire to re-join Barca sparked a rift with PSG's fans, who insulted and displayed banners during the Brazilian's comeback against Strasbourg on September 14.

But Neymar has not been affected, scoring the winner in Saturday's 1-0 Ligue 1 victory at Bordeaux and he dismissed the rocky relationship with PSG's supporters.

"It is like with women. Sometimes you argue and spend some time without talking," Neymar told reporters post-match.

"However, with love and affection, you go back to normal. I am here to help PSG and I will give my life on the pitch."

Neymar added to beIN SPORTS: "I'm very happy! I love helping the team, whether it be goals or assists! I'm here for that, and I have every intention of doing that.

"I'm happy when I make the breakthrough in such tight and difficult games. Kylian Mbappe? He returned with his smile, his good mood...and his football!"

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe combined for the 70th-minute winner as PSG bounced back from their shock 2-0 defeat at home to Reims on Wednesday.

"We won this evening by getting back our good feelings in our understanding with each other, linking up, and with quick attacks! It augurs well," Mbappe said.

"My absence? It was long, difficult too. When the team loses, you want to come back as soon as possible, but you can't be hasty. It wasn't easy, but it's over!"

On the relationship between Neymar and Mbappe, PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "They have qualities. They like to be together, their personalities go well together. 

"We can feel it, observe it on the field but it should not be too obvious because you have to keep a balance with other players, they must seek others. We always have to make the best decision for the team, to win, to create opportunities. We played like that today."

Titleholders PSG are two points clear atop the Ligue 1 table ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Turkish giants Galatasaray.

"We played well at the end of the game but forgot to score! We created a lot of chances, but the match was close to the end," Tuchel continued. "It's the only negative point, because I'm really very happy with our performance. The team's display was really excellent, with and without the ball. It was a great performance. I'm very happy."

Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi are fit to play for Paris Saint-Germain against Bordeaux in Ligue 1 this weekend, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

PSG's attacking options have been stretched of late with record goalscorer Edinson Cavani having also been sidelined.

Mbappe and Cavani have been out since they were both hurt in a 4-0 home win over Toulouse a month ago, while PSG lost their last league match at home to Reims without the pair.

But ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Galatasaray, which Neymar will miss due to suspension, Tuchel's squad has received a boost.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Tuchel confirmed Mbappe and loanee Icardi are both available.

Asked about the combination between Neymar and Mbappe, Tuchel said: "The relationship between the two is the key for us, they can bring us a lot of possibilities.

"Mbappe has been hurt for weeks, we have to be patient, and tomorrow it's impossible for Kylian to play 90 minutes.

"We have to adapt to the situation and the opponent. Tomorrow, we will be able to play Mbappe and Icardi."

Wednesday's loss to Reims was PSG's first home defeat in Ligue 1 since May 2018, before Tuchel took charge.

"It's a good thing to play quickly after the loss," said Tuchel.

"It's always hard to find a good mood after a setback; it's the challenge tomorrow against a good team from Bordeaux, to start winning again.

"It was a lack of intensity. It was a surprise for me because I made some changes to have intensity.

"I hate to lose, it was super hard. We can do better and we'll improve."

First reports of interest from Real Madrid. Now Manchester United…

Mauricio Pochettino's future is dominating headlines amid Tottenham's struggles this season.

A switch to Old Trafford could be on the cards for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO SPLASH CASH FOR POCH

According to The Sun, Manchester United are willing to make a move for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham have struggled since reaching the Champions League final last season, and Pochettino is reportedly unhappy in London.

Speculation has linked to Pochettino to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and United, who are prepared to meet his £32million buyout clause, having reportedly considered the Argentinian before appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba will make another attempt to leave Old Trafford in January, claims The Sun. Pogba was tipped to depart United during the previous transfer window, however, a proposed move to either Real Madrid or Juventus did not materialise.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo already has an idea for who could replace head coach Thomas Tuchel. After a shock loss to Reims in Ligue 1, Calciomercato says Leonardo only wants former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri if Tuchel leaves the French champions.

- Tuttosport says Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is waiting for Manchester United in January after turning down a move to Qatar. It comes as the Daily Mail reports United have sent scouts to watch Lyon's Moussa Dembele.

Barcelona are continuing to heavily monitor Napoli star and Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and Southampton are scouting Hearts left-back Aaron Hickey, reports the Daily Record.

Pablo Sarabia insists injury-enforced changes were no excuse for Paris Saint-Germain's surprise 2-0 loss to Reims in Ligue 1.

The champions lost a home league match for the first in 16 months as their visitors capitalised upon a lacklustre display – substitute Boulaye Dia sealing the points in stoppage time after Hassane Kamara's first-half opener.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel made five changes to his starting XI and was without the likes of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi, but former Sevilla winger Sarabia felt there was still ample quality to get the job done.

"It was a game in which we could not find any space, we were unable to knock the ball about with the right pace, and then they penalised us on the break," he told reporters.

"They [Tuchel's rotations] are top-level changes as every player coming in can do very well. Unfortunately, today we were not able to find the way to hurt our opponents."

An injury to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw Sarabia pressed into action as an emergency number nine.

"I will play wherever the manager decides," he said. "The team needed me to play there so I tried to do my best, by playing on the spaces and trying to stretch our opponents. I tried to do my best."

It meant Sarabia was flanked in the front three by Neymar and Angel Di Maria – somewhat underlining his point that PSG should have made their quality tell.

"It makes me feel honoured and excited as we have a fantastic quality on the pitch," he added.

"We need to learn how to hurt the opponents as that is why we all are here."

PSG remain top of Ligue 1, although only by virtue of goal difference from Angers, and travel to Bordeaux on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel was critical of a poor performance from his players after their 2-0 home defeat to Reims in Ligue 1.

Goals from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia secured a surprise victory for Reims at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday as PSG slipped to their second defeat of the season.

PSG remain top of the table after seven matches but are only ahead of second-placed Angers on goal difference.

The underwhelming manner of the defeat was what irked Tuchel as they lost at home in Ligue 1 for the first time since May 2018 – a run of 22 matches.

"I'm disappointed with our performance," Tuchel said.

"Playing in the Parc with the Parisian jersey is always special, and it is true that the performance was insufficient.

"The first 10, maybe 15, minutes went well but then every minute that passed was worse and worse.

"We did not show what we are capable of doing – so defeat is deserved."

PSG were without the attacking qualities of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and the on-loan Mauro Icardi – all absent through injury – while Marco Verratti was suspended.

Tuchel made five changes to his starting line-up as he rotated his injury-hit squad and PSG lacked rhythm and creativity with much of the impetus in the final third placed on Neymar's shoulders.

The Brazil forward, who had scored the winning goal in consecutive 1-0 wins in Ligue 1 for PSG, was not able to perform the feat again.

Tuchel, though, defended his decision to make so many changes to the team which started against Reims, despite the result.

"I regret nothing," he added. "Because I have to manage my team and we lack players and we cannot use too few. And it's easier to analyse afterwards. 

"We have to make decisions and I have made them. Now these are the consequences, but I do not think we lost because we changed players too much. It's more due to the way we played. 

"We lost logically because Reims was closer to its optimal shape than we were. 

"I'm disappointed with our performance, but we are always together and we remain united in defeat."

Paris Saint-Germain suffered their first home league defeat since May 2018 as goals from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia gave Reims a shock 2-0 victory at the Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 champions, deprived of a host of key players, were well below their best and a spirited Reims side took advantage.

Kamara powerfully headed in the 29th minute and, even though PSG piled on the pressure in the second half, the visitors' defence stood firm.

Dia added a second in the fourth minute of injury time with a spectacular bicycle kick.

PSG were without the attacking qualities of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and the on-loan Mauro Icardi – all absent through injury – while Marco Verratti was suspended.

It meant much of PSG's impetus in the final third fell to Neymar, whose knack of scoring late goals secured back-to-back 1-0 wins against Strasbourg and Lyon in Ligue 1.

However, Reims packed midfield and swarmed around the Brazilian whenever he received the ball, stifling Neymar's impact, although he did go close with a free-kick that curled narrowly over the crossbar.

The visitors took a surprise lead just before the half-hour mark when Kamara netted his first top-flight goal.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas almost kept out Kamara's header, from Marshall Munetsi's cross, with a spectacular one-handed diving save but the Reims midfielder's effort had too much power and it went in off the post.

Thomas Tuchel's side dropped points in an away defeat to Rennes last month, and they only threatened sporadically in their quest to avoid a second league loss of the campaign.

PSG had not been beaten at home in league since a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Rennes in May 2018, and they went down by the same margin when Dia got on the end of Thomas Foket's cross and volleyed home in stunning fashion.


 

Paris Saint-Germain's injury problems continue to mount after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting limped out of their Ligue 1 match with Reims on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old forward, who had made little impact on the game, received a knock and was replaced by Angel Di Maria three minutes before half-time.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel's frustration on the touchline was clear with Choupo-Moting potentially joining a lengthy list on the sidelines.

Tuchel is already without a number of key players, including forwards Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.

 

Thomas Tuchel indicated he will rotate his depleted Paris Saint-Germain squad against Reims in Ligue 1 on Wednesday as he balances an ongoing injury crisis.

Forwards Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are all unavailable, as well as defender Thilo Kehrer and midfielder Julian Draxler, while Marco Verratti is suspended.

Neymar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are therefore the only senior attackers available to PSG, who are three points clear at the top of the table after six matches.

After sitting out the opening weeks of the season due to injury and uncertainty over his future, Neymar has hit late winners in consecutive league defeats of Strasbourg and Lyon.

Tuchel, though, suggested the Brazil forward could sit out the visit of Reims to ensure he is kept fresh for PSG's busy upcoming schedule.

"It's not possible to pick the same players," he told a news conference. "I'm responsible for the team, we only have two days of rest.

"Then we play in Bordeaux, then in Istanbul [against Galatasaray in the Champions League] two days later, we cannot overuse the players."

Neymar reported late to training on Tuesday but Tuchel confirmed this was authorised as the forward had a "personal thing".

The 27-year-old has yet to be forgiven by some PSG fans after making it clear he wanted to leave the club during the transfer window.

Thomas Meunier, though, feels supporters need to move on from that saga and give Neymar their backing.

"Whistling is not the answer, I'm happy with what he brings in," he told a news conference.

"Professionally he did the right thing, he did not make a story, he's convinced himself that he can still play a role in the club."

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